05 December 2013

Those Protesting Protestants

I am a Protestant. But I don't really feel like I am protesting anything. I'm not likely to burn any papal bulls, or any papists for that matter, in person or in effigy any time soon. I don't want to picket the local Roman Catholic church here in Lynchburg. When I became a deacon at my church, I took an exception to the Westminster Confession at 25.6 where the Pope is called the Antichrist. I'm not an iconoclast. Most of my favorite fiction writers (Chesterton, Belloc, Tolkien, Waugh, O'Connor) are Catholic. I love Thomas Aquinas. I have no more antagonism toward Roman Catholicism than I do against Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Lutherans or any other Christian group with which I have doctrinal disagreements. I simply believe that the system of doctrine taught in Reformed theology is closer to Biblical truth than that taught in Roman Catholicism.

So I've come to prefer the term "Reformed" to the term "Protestant"just because of the negative connotation of being a perpetual protestor.


But then, I recently learned that the word "Protestant" has nothing to do with protest in the modern sense of the word.The Reformers were not protesting corrupt practices in Rome, false doctrine, shady politics, or immorality. They were protesting the truth.

This is one of those situations in which a word today means almost the opposite of its original meaning. Today we think of people protesting those things they disagree with. According to the original meaning of the word, however, people protested those things they believed. You see, the word "protest" comes from the Latin protestari, which means "declare publicly, testify". The Reformers were called "Protestants", not because of what they were against, but because of what they were for. Thy proclaimed and testified to the truth of Scripture. Now that's a definition of "protestant" that I can get behind.


1 comment:

Mom said...

Interesting. Btw, hope you got the pics I e-mailed ya. Should send them to Erica so she can see Henry's return...lol!